Again, FAAN, Arik Air On War Path Over N15.5B Debt
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Arik Air today commenced another round of hostilities, few months after both parties made accusations and counter accusations over N12.5billion debt.
FAAN had claimed that Arik Air owe it N12.5billion, which it had refused to pay, a claim Arik Air had denied.
The airline in a counterclaim insisted that it paid FAAN over N18.5 billion since it commenced flight operation in 2006.
The alleged disruption of Arik Air’s flights by FAAN is also coming three months after Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited(BASL) claimed that Arik Air owe it N12.5billion and not FAAN.
Recalled that in May BASL came into the scene alleging that the airline owes it N12.5 billion and not FAAN.
BASL in an online statement signed by its image maker Mr, Aderemi Ladigbolu, stated that Arik should have paid its debt to the company because the facility in which it is operating at GAT belongs to the company in line with the agreement BASL had with FAAN and the federal government.
Today, the raging war over who owes who reared its head again, following accusation by Arik Air that FAAN disrupted its operations at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT),a domestic terminal and international terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport(MMA),Lagos
In an online statement signed by the Public Relations and Communications Officers, Chigozie Okereke, the airline expressed dismay and disappointment once again over the disruption of its operations by FAAN at GAT and international terminal of MMA, Lagos .
The statement alleged that workers of the agency prevented Arik Air from gaining access to the Airside at both terminals.
The airline said that access to the airside is critical and fundamental to the airline’s operations for moving catering, supplies and other sundry items to the aircraft, as well as the movement of its personnel to ready the aircraft for departure.
This access, the airline further explained is also necessary for the airline to conduct secondary security screening, mandatory security checks and for securing the aircraft at all times in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and recommended practice.
It alleged that this is not the first time that FAAN has taken the law into its own hands, as it had resorted to such strong-arm tactics against the airline in the past and most recently in May this year.
The airline stated that it was already in the public domain that Arik Air and FAAN have a lingering disagreement on the long-standing and unsubstantiated claim by FAAN of spurious indebtedness of the airline to the agency, which is now before the Federal High Court in Lagos, at the instance of FAAN.
Arik Air added that both sides were reconciling payment accounts between the institutions over the charges paid by Arik Air to date and in this regard and that Arik Air has been providing all the needed assistance and cooperation to conclude the reconciliation process.
However, the stated that FAAN had shown total disregard for the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by carrying out such disruptive action again.
To buttress its point, the airline cited suit No FHC/L/CS/1558/2015 brought by FAAN against Arik Air before a Federal High Court in Lagos and that the court on June 20, 2016 had ordered that both parties maintain status quo ante-bellum until ruling on the ex-parte was delivered.
Arik stated that the matter was further adjourned to October 10, 2016.
It stated that on several occasions in the past weeks, Arik Air had equally served the order of the court on FAAN since they claimed ignorance of the ruling, adding that blatant defiance of the laws of the country and disrespect to the High Court should not be tolerated.
It appealed to the judiciary to intervene in this matter and take appropriate action to uphold the laws of the nation.
“This unjustifiable disruption by FAAN has further inconvenienced the travel plans of thousands of passengers who were already affected due to the acute scarcity of aviation fuel (Jet A1) in the recent weeks.”
The airline apologised to its esteemed passengers for any inconvenience experienced due to this unwarranted disruption and unlawful action by FAAN.
The General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr Yakubu Dati could not be reach for FAAN’s official reaction on the matter.